All blogs are property of authors and copying is not permitted.

Monday, July 9, 2012

It's All Kind of Grey


I've been writing erotic romance for about six years. I have lots of wonderful readers who enjoy my books. And though my family is very proud of all that I've accomplished, very few of them want to read my books. That's fine. They aren't for everyone. And up until the last year, most of my extended family didn't even know the words kindle or nook. Now, many of them own one.

It's only recently that authors have been able to take complete control of their publishing careers and self-publish their books. Many of the books on the NYT Bestseller list are now self-published e-books. But I'm not sure any of them are getting the buzz that 50 Shades of Grey is receiving. It seems every time I turn on the television someone is talking about this erotic romance book with it's BDSM themes. Kelly Ripa was discussing it on her show. Ellen DeGeneres was sorta reading excerpts on her program.

The book world is on fire with chatter about this trilogy. And I keep wondering ... why this book? Did the author, EL James, a television executive know some trick to marketing that the rest of us haven't tried? I can't say I've seen an interview of her, though I do understand she's been on a couple of morning shows.

In the long run all this attention is helpful for all erotic romance authors ... like me!

The media is terming her story "Mommy Porn" because so many mainstream romance readers are falling in love with Mr. Grey, Anastasia and their less-than-mainstream relationship. I'm not sure readers are happy with this catch phrase, but hey, why not? I'll be the first to tell people I write smut. Of course I say it lovingly, knowing that my stories (like all good erotic romance books) aren't just one sex scene loosely connected to another sex scene. There are flawed characters with real emotional problems all set within a plot that twists and turns and hopefully surprises my readers.

I don't know about this particular book. Since reader reviews are all over the place on this one, I'm not sure if I want to plunk down part of my monthly book budget (don't laugh, I can pretend I have one) just to see what all the buzz is about. But whether people like this book or not, there's no arguing with the number of books flying off the virtual shelves. Which means these readers, many who are new to the erotic romance genre, may be looking for other sexy reads. That's wonderful news for the rest of us working to market our books. Because the truth is, some of us are just trying to figure out what Ms. James did right to bring so much attention to her trilogy. I'd like to repeat her success.

What about you? Have you read this? Are you planning on checking it out? And if you have insight as to why this particular book has hit the big time, do share. You know me, I'm always curious about stuff like that.

17 comments:

Lady Cheena said...

Sure, 50 Shades has put erotica back on the map, but the same could be said about a lot of books (i.e. Lady Chatterley's Lover). Cultures and times go through this sexual reawaken every so often and latch onto a story that they can either villainise or hold up as their new scripture. I don't think EL was a marketing genius, I do believe she had some really great connections and a good fan base, which is all we can ask for.

Nina Pierce said...

Lady - I totally agree! James definitely had connections that she use to her full advantage! Her marketing strategy worked amazingly well!

Polly McCrillis said...

I've read the trilogy and was surprised at how much I liked it. Books written in first person don't usually get my attention, but after a few chapters it didn't matter that only Ana was telling the story. EL deftly exposed Christian via Ana's eyes and made me cared about what was going to happen to him and why he's the way he is. EL's use of witty, sardonic and hilarious emails between the pair was very clever. Marketing connections may be behind getting her books on the shelves, but her writing is what will empty them.

Paris said...

I haven't read the trilogy yet but I'm hearing good things about it. The local librarian in my small, mid-western town has had so many requests that she's finally buying them.

I like the fact that it's generated some interest in the erotic romance industry and I will be checking it out but I don't have any plans to put it on my permanent book shelf.

jean hart stewart said...

Haven't read it, but I think the popularity makes it more acceptable for those of us who also write erotica. For that I'm grateful. My friends still look at me askance, well, some of them do.It amuses others.

Sandy said...

I must be out of date, Nina, because I haven't read the series.

Sharon Hamilton said...

I enjoyed the series, and bought it (expecting to hate it based on other reviews), but actually enjoyed it. I agree with Polly - you get a good feel for the hero through the heroine's eyes, and that isn't easy to do.

And all the controversy of Twilight aside, the book has brought readers to erotica that wouldn't have otherwise. My daughter won't read my things, but walked into my house on 4th July with Shades Book 1. I was shocked. We actually had a reasonable conversation I never would have guessed could have happened.

If it brings more readers, I say, bring it on. A lot of people came to vampires through Twilight, too. I know better than to compare my writing with either one.

Adele Dubois said...

World News Tonight reported this trilogy is expected to become the best-selling print and ebook series of all time. Wow.

Best--Adele

Sharon Hamilton said...

And PW printed today 20% of all book sales in the last 12 months are 50 Shades books. It has bumped up Anne Rice's old works from the '80's. This was the first mainstream writer I read who did erotica.

Nina Pierce said...

Polly - There are many readers who were hesitant with the first person perspective. Like you said, the story is so compelling it pulls readers not only into the first book, but right through the whole series.

Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing.

Nina Pierce said...

Paris - Erotic romance authors all the way around are hoping this new interest in the genre will bring readers to many new authors.
Hey, I'm not ashamed of trying to ride those coattails. ;)

Nina Pierce said...

Jean - LOL! Isn't that the truth?

Nina Pierce said...

Sandy - People must have asked you about them. I've skimmed the books, but didn't get into it and didn't continue. I'm thinking I'll have to try again.

Nina Pierce said...

Sharon - There was a lot of controversy about Twilight when it was published, but I thoroughly enjoyed the books. Since the reviews are all over the place for 50 Shades, I'm thinking I really need to give this series a try. Obviously James did something right in creating characters readers wanted to discover.

Nina Pierce said...

Adele - That is amazing. I hadn't heard that statistic.

B.C. Brown said...

I can say that I tried to read it. I'll leave it at 'tried'. While I normally enjoy erotic, this story wasn't for me. And it wasn't because of the first person POV. But I am also not a fan of Twilight (although these were YA books, not erotica). Perhaps it's because I enjoy mysteries. Even erotic mysteries.

However, if it brings light to the erotica genre then GREAT! It's always good to have an author or series as a public sound off to a specific genre. :)

BC Brown Books ~ Paranormal, Mystery, Romance, Fantasy
"Because Weird is Good."

Nina Pierce said...

BC - I still can't wrap my head around the whole concept that these books started as FanFic for Twilight because they certainly morphed into something different IMHO.

And I'm with you on the suspense and mystery. Most of my books (even the erotic romance) have a suspense thread. It's what I like to read so writing it is a lot of fun (and a challenge).

And I'm with you ... if these books bring more people to erotic fiction than that's a good thing for all of us.

Share buttons